Signs Your Baby is Ready to Start Weaning
6 min read
It can be exciting when you first notice your little one taking an active interest in food!
Knowing when to start introducing new tastes and textures to your baby can be confusing, but here at Babease, we’re here to help!
When Should I Give My Baby Solid Foods?
Baby-led weaning, or any other form of weaning, is one of many milestones new parents experience. It can be so much fun when your little foodie starts to experience different foods and becomes a part of family mealtimes!
It is often recommended that weaning starts at around six months, but no earlier. This age is only a guide, however, and what’s right for your baby might be slightly different.
Some parents can be unsure about when to start weaning for their child, which is perfectly understandable. Little ones have their own personalities and develop specific skills at a different speed to others.
Why Wait Until Six Months?
Sometimes, babies might show one or more of the weaning signs before they reach six months. When this happens, it’s understandable that parents might wonder why they should continue waiting until beginning the weaning process.
There are many reasons why you shouldn’t begin the weaning process before six months of age. One of the main reasons is that milk feeds (breast or formula) provide all the nutrients little ones need during the first six months. Another is that baby’s stomachs need time to develop so they can handle solid foods.
However, every baby’s development is different. In the same way that some little foodies may not be ready until after six months, others may develop faster. Some babies are able to start weaning after four months, but check with a healthcare professional beforehand if you think your little one is ready at this early stage.
So, how do you know exactly when your little one is ready to start their adventure into the world of food? There are some tell-tale signs in their behaviour which can help you understand when might be the best time.
The first sign that your baby is ready to start weaning is sitting. In particular, they should be able to stay in a sitting position and also hold their head steady.
This first step is essential because sitting up straight will help your little one to digest new foods. When they start weaning, a high chair can help them stay upright while eating, but it’s important that they’re able to do this themselves.
Another sign that your baby might be ready for weaning is co-ordination between their hands, eyes and mouth.
This point is particularly essential for baby-led weaning, as your little one will need to hold onto foods and bring them to their mouth. If your baby isn’t able to hold onto small things, then they might not be ready just yet – don’t worry, they will be!
Despite its apparent links to baby-led weaning, co-ordination is important for every kind of weaning.
Another sign that they’re ready to start weaning is actually swallowing their food and not pushing it back out.
If your little one is pushing food out with their tongue, don’t worry, as they eventually grow out of this habit. Weaning is as much about patience as it is exploring food, and this applies to the weeks before weaning.
False Baby Weaning Signs
The three signs mentioned above are what to look for before beginning the weaning journey with your little one. When they reach around six months, they will often appear together, which is when you should look to start your foodie adventure!
There are other signs that little ones show at around this age or just before which are sometimes mistakenly seen as being ready for weaning. These include:
- Chewing their fist.
- Waking up more often at night.
- Wanting extra milk feeds.
These signs are perfectly normal for little ones around the weaning age. Still, they do not necessarily mean they’re ready to start weaning. It also doesn’t mean they’re becoming any more hungry than usual.
What to Expect When Starting Weaning
Once you notice your little one sitting upright, co-ordinating their hands and swallowing food after six months, you can be confident about starting the weaning journey.
It’s best to start with simple tastes and textures, such as one vegetable at a time. Purees are often recommended, but you can try different textures, like mash, depending on how your baby interacts with the food.
In the beginning, weaning is just about exploring new tastes and textures for your little one. They might not eat much at first, and their nutrients will still mainly come from milk feeds.
As mentioned, patience is a huge part of the weaning process. Continue to offer a variety of foods to your little one, even if they appear to not like particular tastes at first.
It’s recommended to try solid foods before their usual milk feed, but if they are full or not interested, that’s fine. You can simply continue the weaning journey next time they show an interest.
Weaning is an adventure, so it’s also important that you and your little one have fun! Your baby will often look to follow your lead, so eating at the same time as them and praising their efforts can help with their progression.
Weaning can be such an exciting time for your little one as they begin their first steps into the wonderful world of food! Here at Babease, we love supporting parents during the journey, both with our organic vegetable pouches and also the advice on our blog.
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